CAM HARDIE, a talented teenager whose family is steeped in Ryedale racing, made Turf history by becoming the jockey to win a race staged on Good Friday in this country.
His landmark success came in front of a sell-out 9,000-strong crowd at Lingfield yesterday when the Richard Hannon-trained Viewpoint landed the Coral.co.uk All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap.
The 17-year-old, whose father Willie is a former jump jockey and now head lad at Tim Easterby’s Great Habton stables, cut his teeth on the pony racing circuit and with Stillington Hunt.
It was Easterby’s recommendation that saw him become one of the understudies to champion jockey Richard Hughes, and Epsom Derby-winning rider Ryan Moore, at the all-conquering Hannon stables in Wiltshire.
Hardie showed great poise to prevail by a neck and record his first win for Easterby, and his sixth success since the beginning of 2014.
“It’s the best day of my career so far and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped to get me here,” said the winning jockey.
“Tim Easterby got me the job with Mr Hannon and I’m very grateful. This is really special. It’s a big meeting and there was a really good reception. I’m over the moon, it’s my first winner for the boss. Viewpoint was feeling great, he’s really fresh. Winning this was something different to the normal handicaps.”
Hannon was represented by his travelling head lad David Bourton who said: “Cam has been with us for a year and a bit and that was his first win for the boss. Cam rode to orders and gave the horse a great ride, let’s hope it’s the first of many he rides for us. We were quite hopeful beforehand because the horse was in very good form at home.”
This landmark day also saw Ertijaal, trained by Skipton-born William Haggas, stake a claim for next month’s 2000 Guineas by winning the 32Red All-Weather 3 Year Old Championships Conditions Stakes.
However, winning jockey Paul Hanagan was made to work hard for the success. “I had to set him alight a little bit and then he was on his head a bit, but he didn’t half come good,” said the rider who then took the main sprint on Malton trainer Richard Fahey’s unfancied Alben Star.
“I’ve always thought he’d be better over a mile but he’s just got a bit of class about him, he’s something to look forward to.”
There was also a bumper crowd at Musselburgh where Robin Bastiman’s evergreen Borderlescott, now 12 years young, narrowly failed to win a five-furlong sprint held in honour of Yorkshire’s two-time horse of the year.
The veteran was beaten in a photo-finish by the David O’Meara-trained Smoothtalkinrascal, another Yorkshire success on this momentous day, but Wetherby-based Bastiman was far from downbeat by Borderlescott’s 74th career start.
“That was fantastic. He still wants to do it, I’m so proud of him – he’s a one-off,” said the trainer. “I think everyone in the weighing room was willing him to win, but never mind. He’s a legend.
“He’s been back in since January 1 like all my horses. I’ve been pleased with his work and he’s proved today he’s still got the will to do it. We’ll keep him going, but I’m not going to run him on anything worse than good ground. I was a bit gobsmacked to see him go so close, as he usually needs a few runs to get him fired up. “
Meanwhile, Sue Smith’s Rowland Meyrick Chase winner Cloudy Too returns to action today at Haydock for the High Eldwick trainer.
After his Wetherby win on Boxing Day, Cloudy Too was then second to the consistent Captain Chris in a Grade One race at Ascot before running with credit in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup until unseating his young jockey Jonathan England at the final fence.
Smith also saddles No Planning in the feature handicap chase in which this year’s Grand National-winning trainer Dr Richard Newland is due to saddle Mart Lane.